chapter  4
43 Pages

Therapist Reactions

ByApril E. Fallon, Virginia Brabender

This chapter focuses on the importance of the therapist's understanding of the impact that a pregnancy has on her own psychology and that of her patients. It examines reported therapists' reactions in response to both reality-based and transference-based patient reactions that can impede the therapist's understanding of her patient if left unchecked. The chapter explores the therapist's recognition of her reactions as critically linked to the transference and how an awareness of the former can be used to identify and better understand the latter. It suggests the recommendations to aid the pregnant therapist in recognizing her particular sensitivities to her patients' reactions. Professional and personal identities are challenged throughout the pregnancy and often well into the postpartum period, as the therapist grapples with issues of self-definition and self-worth while attempting to take up simultaneously her roles as mother and therapist. E. P. Benedek hypothesized that pregnancy for the therapist was a taboo subject because it represented an aspect of sexuality.